Exclusive Interview: See Sza Blossom

 

by Andrea K. Castillo

Her voice is sweet and her lyrics are filled with emotion. Her music digs deeper than the surface, and is crafted with precision. Her name is Sza and she is here to share her music and herself to the world. Take a glimpse inside her mind in this interview with Giant Step contributor, Andrea K. Castillo.

I first became familiar with your EP through Giant Step and I immediately downloaded, and I listened, and listened, and thought, “Wow, this is really great! Let me learn more about this girl.” So I read all your press stuff and decided to do an interview, so here it is. We’re in the time of Sza. Your EP, See Sza Run, has been out for a few weeks now, tell me a little bit about the process, I know you worked with a bunch of different producers, how was that experience?

Sza: Super. A lot of these happened by chance. You’d be surprised at how any people don’t give you beats or don’t give you permission for anything, so I pretty much stole three-quarters of my project. Once they [the producers] heard it, they weren’t as angry with me. It was definitely interesting, I was like “That sounds good, MINE!”, and just ran with it.

So it’s seven tracks, and when listening it is very atmospheric and I can see what you are talking about. It’s a little dark, but I like that, and your lyrics are very refined. How long have you been writing?

Sza: That’s a really good question. I’ve been a writer, prior to singing or anything, for a very long time. That was my strong suit. Even in high school I was in AP English…writing is my thing. I’m a serious reader and heavily into poetry, so before I even opened my mouth and thought “Maybe I should try to translate this into something, it’s crowded in here”, I had to find a way to get these thoughts out of my brain.

You paint a picture with your words, and in regards to your visuals, I noticed across the board there are a lot of flowers; the album artwork, the music videos. Can you tell us more about your choice to use floral imagery in your work?

Sza: My mom was somewhat of a botanist, so gardening, plant life, that’s all her sh*t, and my dad was super into science. I went to school for science, so I love plant life and wild life. Knowing a lot about flowers and what they represent and the energy they bring…I use a lot of tiger lilies in my work because they used to grow in my backyard all the time; those are my favorite, they’re so pretty.

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Read the rest of the interview after the jump

Artist Spotlight: Szjerdene + MP3s

 

London based songbird Szjerdene was discovered by the masterful Robin Hannibal (Quadron, Boom Clap Bachelors), and there’s no question that the man knows how to pick em. This past April Szjerdene released her digital single, “Lead the Way” / “If 6 Was 8″ on Plug Research (both produced by Hannibal), and is on her way to making some major waves, we think. Her voice is spellbinding; a smooth sound evoking a blend of Yukimi Nagano and Rahel. We are totally in love with her “Think it Through” track, which also is available for free download below. Also take a listen to her digital single where you can download one of the tracks, “Lead the Way” for free. Props to PunchDouble on the dope album cover design!

Szjerdene – “Lead the Way” [MP3]

Purchase “Lead the Way” / “If 6 Was 8″ on iTunes

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Raphael Saadiq’s Stone Rollin’ Out Now + MP3

Stone Rollin’ – written and produced by Raphael Saadiq, who also plays bass, mellotron, keys, guitar, percussion and even drums on most of the tracks – is even more powerful, urgent and bold than The Way I See It (2008). The new songs are firmly planted in classic R&B, and nod to Saadiq’s heroes like Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Little Walter and Sly Stone, with his own contemporary spin.

Stone Rollin
‘ features its share of special guests too. Robert Randolph dropped by to lay down some nasty steel guitar on “Day Dreams.” Guesting on “Just Don’t” is Larry Dunn from Earth, Wind, and Fire, plus one of Saadiq’s indie rock favorites, Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon. Another standout track is “Good Man,” which brilliantly blends golden age soul with a killer hip hop hook, co-written and sung by upstart Taura Stinson. The new album is in stores today – get yours now!

Get a free download of “Stone Rollin’”

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Purchase Stone Rollin’ on iTunes | Amazon

Also, Raphael Saadiq is today’s Spotlight Artist on YouTube.com’s home page discussing his favorite music videos. His choices may surprise you! Check it out after the jump.

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Little Dragon with PS22 Video – “Twice”

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The title explains it all – Little Dragon and a childrens chorus sing “Twice.” Watch our lady of Twittle Dragon, Yukimi Nagano, lead the 65-piece chorus of NYC’s PS22.

Raphael Saadiq – “Good Man” (New Single)

Following the video for his first single, “Radio,” another Raphael Saadiq track hit the web this week: “Good Man.” It would be near impossible to top his 2008 album The Way I See It, but these new ‘aggressive rock n roll’ style tracks are a good sign. Plus rumored featured guests on Saadiq’s Stone Rollin’ include Robert Randolph and Yukimi Nagano (Little Dragon). Stone Rollin’ will be released by Columbia Records on March 22nd.

Listen to Raphael Saadiq – “Good Man” via Okayplayer